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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Professional (1994)

(aka: Leon)



Reviews and Comments

Perhaps capitalizing on the success of La Femme Nikita, director Luc Besson's The Professional is another brutal action film involving professional killers and crime organizations. Jean Reno plays the title character, an assassin who is amazingly skilled at his job but not too smart in other matters. He meets up with a young girl whose family was murdered by drug lords, and the two have a strange and intriguing relationship. She teaches him to read. He teaches her to kill.

That part of the film, with its originality, depth, and undercurrent of dark humor, I liked. I was less fond of the external plot, involving the drug lords. This part didn't contain anything innovative that hasn't been filmed time and again, and it dotes overmuch on violence and blood. Gary Oldman plays the head badguy, and while he turns in a creepy performance, this wasn't anything I hadn't seen before either.

So I recommend approximately half of the film and not the other. I'm not sure if this film qualifies as a cult film, but I can easily see how it could be -- some will like it very much; others won't like it at all.